Wednesday, February 29

Tournament Talk: Feast of Blades, Battle Points and Win-Loss

Today I wanted to talk about the Feast of Blades Invitational and go over some of the different styles that exist for tournaments currently.  Lets just jump right in, shall we?

For those of you who aren't familiar with the different formats in Tournaments I've written up a little description.  If you are familiar with tournament formats then please feel free to skip down to the bolded headline below. If you're unfamiliar with tournaments (or are just bored at work) read on!

Battle Points:

Back in the day GW used to run a Grand Tournament (GT) circuit, they had several of them throughout the country and they were usually scored by using a system of Battle Points + Painting + Sportsmanship.  This was essentially a very large Rouge Trader Tournament (RTT) and the system still hangs around today.  It is a good system for encouraging the "Whole hobby."

This system is also good at allowing people to 'climb back,' into the drivers seat of the top tables even if they lose one game.  However it has a downside in the last round because you can win at table #1 and still not win the tournament.  This usually happens because players 1-3 are pretty closely scored but the difference is that player #3 is playing the "easiest," opponent.  If player 3 gets full points and players 1-2 get low scores (because in theory they are better matched) then player 3 can 'leap frog,' over players 1 and 2 to take the top spot.  In fact you will hear players talk about how they want to try to not achieve a full points score in the second to last round so that they can be in a good position to leap frog at the end.  Though this does happen it isn't entirely common all the time.

One of the great things about battle points is that it awards you for a degree of victory.  If you table your opponent then you should get something extra for that (according to battle points thinking) If you are the player who massacres an opponent it is fairly easy to agree with this sentiment.  However, the losing player can feel pretty bad writing "0" on your score sheet. 

When it is all send and done though, Battle points is a tried and true system that has been proven time and time again to allow the best hobbyist to win the day.


This format is fairly new to the tournament scene but has caught some traction lately.  This format has little to do with being a hobbyist as the Tournament Champion is determined solely on your number of wins.  This format is particularly suited towards competitive players who want to see the winner be someone who hasn't lost a single game all weekend/day.

This system does stay true to providing a single uncontested winner who has beaten everyone below him either directly or vicariously through his opponents (aka the 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon).  However, this format has problems delivering if the number of players don't add up to certain numbers.  I could go into the details of it but suffice it to say that win/loss works really well when you can have exactly 8,16,32,64, 128, 256, etc.  You can easily end up with an overall champion who actually has a loss (Though at that point all players will have one loss).

The great thing about win/loss is that games which are particularly close are still just as rewarding to the winner as games that are a blow out, you simply get a "W." The theory in this is that players will 'hold punches,' once the game is in the bag and this can help to having a less stressful environment for the losing player.

Probably one of the biggest hardships about win/loss is that if you are a person who believes they can compete for the top table and you lose your first game then the whole weekend is "pointless," for you.  Some tournaments insert other prizes like "Ren man," but it is left to the individual to determine if they are excited for this or not. 

All in all Win/loss does set up for a very competitive setting does provide you with the best performing player of the day/weekend.

The Feast of Blades Invitational:

This year at the Feast of Blades Invitational we will be using both systems to determine our tournament champion. "But Duke, how will you achieve this feat!?" you may ask.  Well, let just jump right in shall we?

DAY ONE: Battle points
All players will be given a random draw round one, ALL 4 GAMES IN DAY ONE WILL BE BATTLE POINTS.  The reason for this is because of a few things:

1. We don't want players unable to win because of a close loss on game one. This means you can "get warm," and aren't screwed by an unlucky game right out of the gates.

2.Because nobody is "out," we significantly lower the number of player drops after day one which means more people get more games.

3. It solves the problem of not having exactly 256 people in the event.  Because it is battle points day one we aren't worried about no-shows, cancels and the like.  If we have all 300 invitees show up then great! If only 232 show up that is great too. Much less stress for the TO (me).

4. In the beginning of tournaments (first 2-3 rounds) players aren't exactly paired by true ability, this can create some "accidental winners/losers," and battle points allows us to truly get people in the right part of the standings for day two.  This system also allows for 'degree of victory,' which will allow the better performing players to rise to the top at the end of day one.

DAY TWO: Bracketed win/loss
At this point players will be broken into brackets of 8 people.  They will then play all their (3) games as "Win/loss."  Which bracket you are in and pairings of the first game will be based on performance on day one (i.e. the top 8 players will be in bracket 1, players 9-16 bracket two, etc.)

1. On day two players are better paired according to past performance.  At this point you see players having much 'closer,' games.  As such a hard win/loss result is more suitable for moving forward through the next three games.

2. Even if you lose at this point you still remain in your bracket and can try to place within the bracket and improve your overall standing.

3. You cannot be leapfrogged if you win the top table in your bracket

4. The brackets create an interesting sense of camaraderie in that most players report that sportsmanship within the brackets is at a high level.  

5. The overall champion is the undefeated winner of Bracket 1.

6. Because you are paired in 8 man brackets we will only ever have one bracket that isn't 'full,' this means win/loss will work perfectly no matter how many players we have show up...except in the one possible bottom bracket.

I believe this system will provide the best possible result because it takes the best aspects of Battle Points (A strong early tournament system) and Win/loss (a strong late tournament system).  This is a totally new idea but I am really looking forward to seeing how this will work out... The only sad part is that I can't play in it.

I would love to hear feedback! Would you want to play in this system?



  1. Sounds absolutely killer. I honestly think this sounds way better than any other event I've been to or heard about.

    The only issue could be poor sportsmanship on the first day. If people know that they probably won't share a bracket with their opponent, and that if they do poorly on the first day they won't have a chance at the top table on day two there could be a few issues. That said, if you need a guy to be the undercover judge who just walks around with a taser looking for dickwads, I'm your man.

  2. Forgot to say: in the invitational there are no sportsmanship scores or painting scores... Just battle points. This is like this because the invitational is about finding the best general.

    We do give out "favorite opponent," awards and "players choice: appearance" awards to reward those beautiful armies. We also just kick people put for being d bags or give them an auto-loss. Painting is also required to play, so no plastic grey!

  3. This sounds great to me! You get the best of both worlds which I think will be fun to play in. Having played under both systems and I agree with your assessments above I think it will be neat to see how it works out.

    I think it might be nice to see the runner ups for players choice and favorite opponent recognized. In a event this big I think it is still a huge accomplishment for a person to be runner up for one of these awards.

    If anyone reading this has not been to feast of blades last year I would highly recommend going. It is an awesome event!

  4. Great point CJ. We will give awards to runners up (and maybe the top 3) this year.

  5. I like this concept Duke, it is the "have you cake and eat it too" line of thinking that I like. It's cake dammit! EAT IT if you HAVE IT! *laugh*

    The concept is sound and would love to see a follow up post to this after the dust settles.

    Looking forward to "finally" a qualifier here in Florida that I plan to attend.

  6. Duke I think it's a pretty solid concept.This really culls the herd quickly. I like battle points first to get you focused on your game and it's a little more forgiving. And with win/loss you can really go all in.I do like sportsmanship it can keep people a little bit more honest. I also like top 5 go in a room and the one who walks out wins. Just saying could be fun.

  7. Hi Duke !

    I am interested in playing in the Invitational this year. Do you think it is possible you could give me an invitation? I would love to come out.